White House Asks Facebook, Google and Others for Help With Coronavirus Response

The administration convened a meeting with representatives from major tech firms about halting the spread of coronavirus-related disinformation and tracking the disease.
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At a meeting Wednesday, the White House asked for Silicon Valley's help in responding to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. 

The meeting was convened by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and included public health officials as well as representatives from Facebook  (FB) - Get Report, Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Report, Amazon  (AMZN) - Get Report, Microsoft  (MSFT) - Get Report, Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Report, Cisco  (CSCO) - Get Report and others. It was led by the White House's Chief Technology Officer, Michael Kratsios. 

According to the Washington Post, the meeting focused on the spread of coronavirus disinformation across social media and internet platforms, as well as ways to use the companies' artificial intelligence capabilities to track the spread of the virus.

Tech firms pitched their own technologies during the session, according to the Washington Post, with Amazon saying that its cloud computing tools could be used to track travelers and IBM  (IBM) - Get Report suggesting the use of AI to predict the spread of coronavirus. 

“We’re working in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control, the Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, and ministries of health in nearly 64 countries to provide people with access to credible information," a Twitter spokesperson told TheStreet. "We appreciate the administration’s efforts to convene our government partners and industry peers as we work together to solve this global problem. We’re committed to collaboration, which is key to protecting the public conversation around this critical public health issue.”

High on the agenda was stopping the proliferation of conspiracy theories, hoaxes and disinformation on coronavirus. 

Officials from the State Department told the press late last month that thousands of Russia-linked accounts on Facebook and other social media platforms were deliberately spreading false information about coronavirus. 

According to U.S. officials, the conspiracy theories surrounding coronavirus include claims that it was deliberately spread by the U.S. to damage China, and that Microsoft founder Bill Gates was involved in spreading the disease. 

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